Trainspotting

July 19th, 1996








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Trainspotting

Still of Ewan McGregor in TrainspottingStill of Ewen Bremner in TrainspottingStill of Kelly Macdonald in TrainspottingStill of Ewan McGregor in TrainspottingStill of Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller in TrainspottingStill of Ewan McGregor and Kelly Macdonald in Trainspotting

Plot
Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

Release Year: 1996

Rating: 8.2/10 (209,689 voted)

Critic's Score: 83/100

Director: Danny Boyle

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller

Storyline
A wild, freeform, Rabelaisian trip through the darkest recesses of Edinburgh low-life, focusing on Mark Renton and his attempt to give up his heroin habit, and how the latter affects his relationship with family and friends: Sean Connery wannabe Sick Boy, dimbulb Spud, psycho Begbie, 14-year-old girlfriend Diane, and clean-cut athlete Tommy, who's never touched drugs but can't help being curious about them...

Writers: Irvine Welsh, John Hodge

Cast:
Ewan McGregor - Renton
Ewen Bremner - Spud
Jonny Lee Miller - Sick Boy
Kevin McKidd - Tommy
Robert Carlyle - Begbie
Kelly Macdonald - Diane
Peter Mullan - Swanney
James Cosmo - Mr. Renton
Eileen Nicholas - Mrs. Renton
Susan Vidler - Allison
Pauline Lynch - Lizzy
Shirley Henderson - Gail
Stuart McQuarrie - Gavin / US Tourist
Irvine Welsh - Mikey Forrester
Dale Winton - Game Show Host

Taglines: Never let your friends tie you to the tracks.

Release Date: 19 July 1996

Filming Locations: 78A Talgarth Road, West Kensington, London, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $262,000 (USA) (21 July 1996) (8 Screens)

Gross: $16,501,785 (USA) (15 December 1996)



Technical Specs

Runtime:



Did You Know?

Trivia:
Irvine Welsh had been approached by film-makers before about adapting "Trainspotting" for the screen but had resisted their offers. He was won over by Andrew Macdonald and John Hodge's enthusiasm for the project but only on the condition that they didn't adopt a Ken Loach semi-documentary approach to the material.

Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: When Begbie strikes the seated man with the pool cue, he clearly hits the seat. The back of the chair is covered by the man's jacket and the cue hits the chair underneath the jacket.

Quotes:
[first lines]
Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: [narrating] Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?



User Review

One of the best films of the 1990s.

Rating: 10/10

In the aftermath of _Pulp Fiction_, much of the filmmaking of the 1990s thrived upon attempts to appear "edgy" within the constructs of independent films, or merely to provide empty shock value cliches. And no film ever came close to the sheer cleverness of Tarantino's masterpiece.

_Trainspotting_, however, somehow manages to take the excesses of the mid-90s and rise far, far above the cinematic cliches that it easily could have become. A film that tackles any hot-button social issue can, and usually does, simply become a didactic propaganda piece. Thankfully, _Trainspotting_ is vastly more intelligent in its edginess and its shock.

In order to appreciate _Trainspotting_ fully, the viewer must abandon any preconceptions about what defines truly great cinema, because this film defies convention at nearly every turn. And with the rapid pace of its plot, that's quite a bit of ground to cover.

Though a great deal of the picture's brilliance is derived from director Danny Boyle's consistent rejection of typical cinematic techniques, the most satisfying and _best_ aspect of _Trainspotting_ is that Boyle creates a film that is neither pro-drug or anti-drug. Instead, he maintains a rare objectivity throughout the film, depicting this fascinating array of complex, beautifully acted characters with an honesty that it seldom captured on film. And, given the life that each character lives, it's nearly incomprehensible that a director would refrain from influencing the viewer's impressions in any way, yet that's exactly what Boyle does.

The dialogue-- or at least what portions of the brogue-drenched dialogue American viewers will be able to comprehend-- is alternately hilarious, raw, and brutal. And Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, and Robert Carlyle bring a remarkable compassion and depth to their portrayals of characters that could have easily lapsed into cliche.

Despite its sheer brilliance, _Trainspotting_ is not a film that's easy to watch. The viewer is bombarded with images that transcend visceral discomfort in their horror-- this movie contains two of the most graphic, horrifying scenes I've ever encountered. But, amazingly, none of these elements is used merely for shock value. Though the viewer will be mortified by some of the things that happen onscreen-- the well-documented dive into Scotland's most vile public toilet, for example-- these scenes all make _perfect sense_ within the context of a masterfully told story.

In order to notice all of the subtlety that also exists in _Trainspotting_, repeat viewings are necessary, primarily to reduce some of the most powerful shocks ever-so-slightly, though their effects are never lost entirely. Some of the images will likely haunt even the most cynical, jaded viewer for weeks.

RATING: 10 out of 10. Never patronizing and completely unpretentious, _Trainspotting_ is one of the most daring, unconventional films ever made. It inspires a level of discomfort rivaled by very few movies, because, even at its most graphic, Boyle never insults the viewer with mere shock tactics. Brilliantly acted, directed, and written, with a truly rare objectivity that allows each viewer to interpret its story on his/her own terms.




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